Categorized | National News

Unemployment Down Slightly

Unemployment figures have decreased slightly to 14.7 per cent overall, down from 15.9 percent, according to the most recent latest labour force statistics.

“The results of the survey, which covered a six months period, indicate that there was a slight increase, less than one per cent, in the size of the labour force, which now numbers 191,455 persons,” the Department of Statistics said on Friday.

“Women were the main contributors to this increase with their numbers growing by 3.6 per cent compared to a decline of 2.4 per cent for men. This is reflected in the overall participation rate, which remained basically the same. The participation rate for women increased by1.5 percentage points while that of males fell by 1 percentage point. In both New Providence and Grand Bahama, the number of females in the total labour force and the employed labour force exceeded that of males. On the other hand, there were more unemployed males than females in both islands.”

Statistics Director Kelsie Dorsett told the Bahama Journal on Friday that the survey was done at the end of April.

“We have noticed in the last year that we do have more women employed in the labour force,” she said.

“Our data right now doesn’t give us details as to why this would be the case but when you look at other factors such as educational qualifications you will find that women are more educated than the males. They are the ones in night classes. If you get information from COB or Bahamas Baptist College you will see that at least 80 per cent of the graduates are females so that makes them more eligible for employment. We also have a large number of females who are head of households and unwed mothers with children and they are the ones who have to find work.”

According to the statistics, there was also a moderate increase in the number of employed persons – 3,145 – and a noticeable decrease in the number of unemployed persons resulting in a decline of 1.2 percentage points in the unemployment rate, which now stands at 14.7 per cent for the country.

Officials said New Providence and Grand Bahama experienced a decline in the unemployment rate.

In the case of New Providence the rate fell from 15.1 per cent to 14.0 per cent and in Grand Bahama from 21.2 per cent to 17.3 per cent.

“Grand Bahama is a small community, so even though the unemployment rate declined by a few percentage points that doesn’t necessarily translate into a large number of people because the smaller your community, any fluctuation will end up with a greater employment rate,” Mrs. Dorsett said.

“We think the decline there is attributed to the 52 week work programme. At least 1,000 people were employed in Grand Bahama as a result of the programme and most of them were women. We must also bear in mind also that this particular reference week was done the month before elections and we know that employment tends to increase around that time.”

Statistics also revealed that discouraged workers in the country declined nearly three per cent over the period.

When examined by sex, the decline was greatest among women – 24 per cent – as opposed to men whose numbers increased by 28 per cent.

New Providence experienced a decline of three per cent in the number of discouraged workers while the reverse was the case in Grand Bahama where the numbers increased by 12 per cent, according to the latest figures.

Results from the survey also suggest that people involved in the informal sector activities continue to decline over the period. The informal sector consists of people who are engaged in that part of an economy that is not taxed nor monitored by any form of government.

“These workers usually have no contract, little or no form of job security, no fixed hours, nor employment benefits such as sick or maternity pay and often no fixed location from which they operate,” Mrs. Dorsett said.

The unemployment rate for youth – ages 15-24 year – in the country now stands at 29.4 per cent, a decline of 4.6 percentage points over the last six month.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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